Our responsibilities under the Freedom of Information Act
Responding to requests for information
We must respond to requests for information within 20 working days.
From 2016/17 we will publish our response time performance quarterly.
If we are withholding the information by applying an exemption for which we need to consider the public interest test, we may extend our time for considering release of the information to 40 working days. We must inform the applicant that we are doing this and give an estimated time for response.
We cannot normally charge a fee for supplying information in response to a request. However, we can estimate the cost of providing the information. If that cost exceeds a set limit, we do not have to comply with the request. The limit is £450 for local authorities.
We have a duty to provide advice and assistance to help applicants who request information from them.
The applicant may ask to inspect the record on site. If we have grounds for not releasing the information requested, we must issue a refusal notice. The notice must explain:
what exemption we have applied and why;
the public interest considerations we have taken into account;
our internal appeals process;
the applicant's right to complain to the Information Commissioner's Office.
The Act places a duty on us to adopt and maintain a publication scheme approved by the Information Commissioner.
sets out the types of information we must routinely publish;
explains the way we must provide the information;
states what charges we can make for providing information; and
commits us to providing and maintaining a guide to the information we provide, how we provide it and any charges